Wednesday, December 31, 2014

N.C.'s Barnes Family-- Part 4: Captain Jesse Barnes

Jesse Barnes spent the months after the Battle of Manassas, until March 1862 at Camp Pickens in Manassas, Virginia.  The regiment saw its first major action at the Battle of Seven  Pines when they attacked and carried Casey's Redoubt.  Jesse was killed leading his men into action there.

He had  made out his will just six weeks earlier and he had requested that if he was killed that his body be returned home for burial next to his father Elias.

His younger brother William remained with the 4th North Carolina and later became its adjutant on the Field and Staff as aide-de-camp for General Bryan Grimes.  he survived the war and later was in the Wilson Camp of the United Confederate Veterans.

Later the Sons of Confederate Veterans.in Wilson was named after Captain Barnes.  Jesse's name also appears on the memorial for Confederate dead at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

--Old secesh

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

North Carolina's Barnes Family: Captain Jesse Barnes-- Part 3

From Find-A-Grave site.

Jesse Barnes was born June 18, 1838, in Edgecombe County, N.C., the son of Elias and Mahola Barnes, plantation owners.  He attended the University of North Carolina at age 16 and graduated in 1858.

By 1860, he was a practicing attorney in Wilson County displaying a lot of political ambition and a staunch supporter of secession.  He helped recruit members of the Wilson Light Infantry in the spring of 1961, even before his state seceded.  The unit became Co. F of the 4th North Carolina and Jesse was elected its captain.

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 29, 2014

North Carolina's Barnes Family: Capt. Jesse Barnes-- Part 2

Captain Jesse Sharpe Barnes, Co. F, 4th North Carolina Infantry.  Enlisted as a soldier, but eventually became a captain.  Born 1838 and killed at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862.

According to an article in Find-A-Grave, Jesse Sharpe Barnes is buried at the Barnes Holloman Cemetery at Saratoga in Wilson County, N.C..  The cemetery is still being used with the most recent burial dating to 2013.

The cemetery is on Stancil Town Road, on private property..

--Old Secesh

Saturday, December 27, 2014

150 Years Ago-- Part 2: Peace Overture

On December 30th, Francis Preston Blair, Sr.  --a native of Abingdon, one of the founders of the Republican Party, and supporter of Lincoln, received permission from the president to travel to Richmond for a visit with Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Blair suggested his hopes of submitting "...to your consideration ideas which...may turn to good & possibly bring practical results that may not only repair all the ruin the war has brought upon the Nation but contribute to...the welfare of other nations that have suffered from it."

As the year ended, Blair was awaiting a reply from Davis.

It is too bad that the South didn't surrender then as the war was already lost by now.  Sherman's march had clearly shown he Confederacy as being unable to defend itself any longer.

--Old Secesh

150 Years Ago This Week-- Part 1: Hood's Retreat and Lincoln's Gifts

From This Week in Civil War History by Michael K. Shaffer.

Besides the First Battle of Fort Fisher, Confederate General John Bell Hood was retreating from his resounding defeat at the Battle of Nashville.  His Army of  Tennessee began crossing the Tennessee River on December 26th.

Hood's defeat by General Thomas and Sherman's taking of Savannah were great gifts for President Lincoln.  On December 26th, Lincoln wrote Sherman expressing "...many thanks for your Christmas gift...."  He continued, "Now, the undertaking being a success (March to the Sea), the honor is all yours; for I believe none of us went further than to acquiesce."  But, Lincoln also wanted to know "what next?"

--Old Secesh

Friday, December 26, 2014

It Happened Christmas 1868: Confederates Pardoned By Johnson

From December 25, 2014, Yahoo! News "Three other big historical events that happened on Christmas Day" by NCC Staff.

President Andrew Johnson pardoned most Confederate soldiers in 1868, in one of the most controversial moves of his presidency.  He had just fought a hard and long battle against his own party, i.e. Radical Republicans.  Earlier in 1868, he had survived a trial in the Senate after he had been impeached in the House.

He issued a general pardon for the Confederates on Christmas Day in 1868 for all who had fought for the Confederacy, provided that all eligible had applied for a pardon.

Actually, this was his 4th amnesty for Confederates and restored civil and property rights and provided immunity from treason charges.  But, it didn't allow former Confederate officials to vote or hold office.

In 1872, the Amnesty Act was amended to allow almost all former Confederates, except a few hundred high-ranking officials (such as Jefferson Davis, to hold public office and vote.

--Old Pardoned Secesh

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

North Carolina's Barnes Family: Captain Jesse Barnes-- Part 1

Earlier this year I was writing about Confederates from North Carolina buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  Until this past year I was unaware that any Confederates were buried there, considering how the cemetery came about as a slap in the face to Robert E. Lee and his family for joining the Confederacy.

There was some questions as to whether Jesse Barnes of the 4th North Carolina Infantry Regiment was buried there.

He wasn't.

Jesse Barnes is buried in the family cemetery on land that was once part of his parents' plantation.  It is located near Stantonsburg in Wilson County, North Carolina.  Today, it is a small cemetery in the middle of a tobacco field.  There is a picture of it in Find-a-Grave that Virginian Summer has posted.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

U.S. Highways With a Civil War Connection

That would be U.S. Highway 6 (Grand Army of the Republic Highway) and U.S. Highway 12 (Iron Brigade Highway).

I wrote about these two roads yesterday and today in my RoadDog's Roadlog blog.

--Old Secesh Dog

Final Battle of Sherman's March at Fort McAllister-- Part 3: An Alamo Comparison

Some compare Fort McAllister to Texas' Alamo.  At both, it was a small garrison against a much larger enemy.  In both cases, that small group of defenders were in a very difficult-to-defend fortification.  In the case of Fort McAllister, it was an earthen fort.

Both groups of defenders knew they had little chance of success.

In Union hands, the fort was used to house Confederate prisoners.  After the war, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair and stayed that way until the 1930s when Henry Ford bought the property.  In 1935, he had the earthworks cleared of underbrush and the ramparts repaired.

It was later sold to the International Paper Company who deeded the site to the Georgia Historical Commission in 1958.

--Old Secesh

Final Battle of Sherman's March at Fort McAllister-- Part 2: To Protect Savannah's Back Door

Sherman's troops crossed a narrow causeway between the marshes and the river and arrived at Fort McAllister about noon.  Just before sunset, they advanced on the fort and it was theirs in fifteen minutes.  Just around 200 were defending the fort so it wasn't much of a fight.

Fort McAllister was built on Genesis Point, on the plantation owned by Lt.Col. Joseph McAllister, near the mouth of the Ogeeche River.  Its purpose was to protect Savannah's backdoor and defend the rice plantations in the area.  From 1862-1863, the fort had fended off seven Union attacks.

On December 13, 2014, hundreds of re-enactors were at the old fort to mark the 150th anniversary of its fall.

--Old Secesh


Monday, December 22, 2014

Final Battle of Sherman's March at Fort McAllister-- Part 1: To the Sea

From the December 7, 2014, Savannah Now "Final battle of Sherman's March to the Sea to be recreated at Fort McAllister Saturday.

Saturday December 13 marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort McAllister.

On the night of December 12th, 1864, 4,000 Union soldiers camped on the north side of the Ogeechee River near where Love's Restaurant is today.  They crossed the river early in the morning of December 13th on a makeshift bridge and marched toward what is today Richmond Hill.

When they reached the intersection of what is today US-17 and Ford Island, they turned east.  A few miles later they moved north along today's Fort McAllister Road.

Bringing it to an End.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Bearss Comes to New Bern-- Part 2

Edwin C. Bearss, 90, served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and is a noted historian known for his work with the Civil War and World War II.  He was badly wounded by the Japanese during the war and hospitalized for two years before his honorable discharge.  After that, he returned home to his native Montana.

He was chief historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and is now chief historian emeritus.  Even at his age, he still does tours and talks as if he were actually there.

His lecture on Jan. 11th is being sponsored jointly by the New Bern Civil War Round Table and the New Bern Historical Society.

--Gone a Bearss'n.  --Old Secesh

The Bearss Comes to New Bern-- Part 1

From the December 17, 2014, New Bern (NC) Sun-Journal "Bearss to return to New Bern for ninth Civil War program."

"An American treasure, Civil War historian Edwin C. Bearss will again appear in New Bern early next year.

On January 11, 2015, at 2 p.m., he will present "Lincoln and His Cabinet" at the North Carolina History Center in town.

The cost is $10 with all proceeds going to the New Bern Battlefield Park.

I finally was able to see him back in 2013 at a Bentonville Battlefield symposium in Smithville, N.C..  I'd wanted to see him for a long time as he is quite a treat to listen to, I doubt if anyone knows more about the war than he does.  And, at his advanced age, he will not be with us forever.

Better take your opportunity to see him now.  If I didn't live so far away, I'd sure be there.  He evidently will speaking the next week at the 150th anniversary of Fort Fisher near Wilmington.

Must Be a Bearss Tour.  --Old Secesh

What the Well-Dressed Woman Wore-- Part 4: Between Mauve and Arsenic

By 1859, William Henry Perkin's new dye color was being called mauve in England and chemists later called it mauveine.  The color came into vogue in 1851, when Queen Victoria wore a mauve gown.

Another gown of Paris green is in the collection.  This dye was made of arsenic.  At the time the dress was made, the arsenic was stable, but caution is used in handling it today since current stability is not known.  I sure wouldn't touch it.

The exhibit ended at the end of August and an entrance fee of $5 was charged.

--Old Secesh Won't Wear That Green Dress.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What the Well-Dressed Woman Was Wearing-- Part 3: The Color Purple

Color was very important to mid-19th century ladies.  Chemists in Germany and France were busy developing new dyes, all of which were made from natural fibers.  And, some of those colors from 150 years ago were quite bright but have faded with the passage of time.

Royalty and the very rich were the ones who got to wear purple clothes as they were made from mollusk shells and were quite expensive.  In 1856, a less expensive purple dye was discovered by William Henry Perkin, quite by accident.

At age 18, he was challenged by his professor to synthesize quinine.  Perkin oxidized aniline using potassium dichromate which yielded a black solid.  Apparently a disaster, but when Perkin cleaned the flask with alcohol, he noticed portions of his solution had turned purple.

--Old Purple Secesh

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What the Well-Dressed Woman Was Wearing-- Part 2: Autograph Books

Also included in the Society's exhibit is an autograph book which were popular especially in private schools.  The book on display has several pictures, including one of President Abraham Lincoln.  Often these photos were carte de visites.

Some of the shoes are made of silk and some of leather.  But all shoes were made for much narrower feet than those found on today's women..  Shoes in the collection also include those for babies, children and men.  Others were for every day wear and there is even a pair for ballroom dancing..

Some of the dresses have shortcuts.  One has two bodices and a detachable skirt that allowed the woman to go from daytime to evening events easily.  Another had sleeve extensions and a shawl that could be removed as the lady went from the banquet to dance floor where dresses had lower necklines and shorter sleeves than today.

Sashay 'Round the Dance Floor.  --Old Secesh

What the Well-Dressed Woman Was Wearing During Civil War Era-- Part 1

From the August 13, 2014, Hi-Liter (Lake County, Il) "Lakes Region Historical Society Showcases Civil War Era Ladies Attire" by Gail Peckler-Dziki.

Historian-actress Jessica Michna traveled from Racine to the Lakes Region Historical Society in Antioch, Illinois, and was highly impressed with its "Ladies Attire of the Civil War Revisited" exhibit, saying, "It is a rare thing to see so many genuine items and in such pristine condition and wide variation."

And, she would know her ladies clothing as she has developed programs for 11 historical female figures including Helen Keller, Abigail Adams and three programs about Mary Todd Lincoln.  As such, she does her research on period clothing.

One interesting item on display is a "hat" made of hair.  In the mid-1800s, a woman with thinning hair might have such a hat with curling tendrils of hair down the sides.  Wearing a knit white morning cap and she would seem to have hair.  Ah, vanity.

And What About Those Big Old Hoop Skirts?  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 15: A Christmas Present

Sherman claimed to have inflicted $100 million in physical damage ($1.3 billion in today's dollars) though historians call this figure a guess.

The psychic damage done to the Confederacy was incalculable.  He made Southerners feel that the war and individual ruin were one in the same.

The March to the Sea took barely a month and then Sherman offered Savannah to his president as a Christmas present.

Quite the Story.  --Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 14: "War on the Confederate Mind"

Sherman was cloaking his movements so well that this served to heighten his reputation as a crazed leader of a ruthless army.  They could be anywhere and heading for anywhere..  It could be termed a "war on the Confederate mind."

Some Georgians will claim that Sherman burned their ancestor's barn.  Often, it turns out that Sherman was never anywhere near it.

Said John Marszalek, "He got into people's psyche.  That's exactly what he wanted to do.  And it's very much there."  Along Sherman's route today, you can see signs advertising for an "antebellum trail."  This features many unburned plantations.  If Sherman had burned them all, would there be any left?

Just the other day, I was talking with my mother who recounted that she had heard that Sherman's army, while in North Carolina a few months after the March to the Sea, had killed cattle and sheep and tossed their carcasses into the Neuse River to poison it for the Southerners.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 13: "We Know What Hole"

Rumors of Sherman's atrocities spread rapidly among those in his path.  Even worse, his exact path was a point of conjecture.  Where exactly was he going.  Most everyone were sure they were in his path.  Making it worse was the fact that his army was moving along in there different columns, cutting a 60-mile wide swath of destruction.

Twice in the last month, I drove through Sherman's hometown of Lancaster, Ohio.  I couldn't help but think what he was up to exactly 150 years ago.

Sherman had cut his telegraph connections when he set off and even Lincoln, when asked what was going on in the march or where it was heading,  would say:  "We know what hole he went in, but we don't know what hole he'll come out."

I imagine there was great relief among Southerners when they found they had been bypassed by "Uncle Billy's" mostly Midwestern army.

--Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 12: "Clean the Concern Out"

The diary of Adjutant James Royal Ladd, 113th Ohio, said that on Nov. 23rd, his unit camped outside Milledgeville and learned that "the Rebs captured and shot some of our foragers."

The next entry begins: "Nov. 24 --  Thanksgiving in Milledgeville.  Well, we had the roast turkey."  Then he and others were detailed to the home where the foragers had been taken and ordered "to clean the concern out.  It looked wicked to see such splendid furniture go to pieces.  ... Crash followed crash, and after all the comforts and luxuries of a splendid home were soon in ruins."

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 11: "Sherman's Neckties"

One letter home from his army described the spoils that a team of designated foragers returned to camp with one night: "Pumpkins, chickens, cabbages" for the evening meal, but also "a looking-glass, an Italian harp..., a peacock, a rocking chair," and more.

Much destruction was formally ordered.  Whatever might benefit the Confederacy--  cotton gins, barns, factories, Confederate leaders' homes-- could be set ablaze.  Teams were assigned to wreck rail lines made bonfires of torn-up ties, heated the iron rails red hot and then twisted them around trees.  these were known as "Sherman's neckties."

Resistance could trigger instant punitive wreckage.  Sherman's men torched towns that harbored snipers and guerrillas hindering his advance.

--Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 10: "Forage Liberally"

In his orders for the march, Sherman noted that without supply lines his army would need to live off the land.  They would need to take whatever they needed.  Sherman even had census maps to show output of counties along the way and he made sure he directed the various parts of his army to places with the most.

"Forage liberally," he famously ordered  he did note that the poor should be spared and that private homes shouldn't be entered and that stealing was forbidden.  It definitely didn't work that way.  His troops went way beyond just getting food.  His troops took the order to read as a license to pillage..

--Old Secesh

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 9: What to Do When Your Leaders "Skedaddle"

As Sherman approached, political and military leaders urged bold resistance by civilians.  But, then those leaders decided to "skedaddle" in the words of an AP dispatch from back then.  In Milledgeville, the governor packed off rugs, curtains and silverware, leaving his official residence "almost completely stripped" when Sherman arrived and had to use his own cot to sleep on.

The unprotected public naturally developed an intense terrifying feeling of vulnerability.  Just what Sherman had intended.

--Old Secesh

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 8: "I'd Follow Uncle Billy to Hell."

By 1864, Sherman was Grant's trusted right hand man and his troops loved his quirky, unkempt style, his intelligence that some felt converged on craziness.  Then, there was his truly fighting spirit.  One soldier wrotw, "I'd follow Uncle Billy to hell."

From Atlanta, Sherman sent his force, divided into parallel columns, southward through the center of Georgia, keeping a fairly straight course, feinting east and west toward major cities and pinning Confederate defenders, what few of them there were, but not attacking.

His forces easily swept aside resistance at Griswaldsville and other places.  Militarily, Sherman's march was a stroll in the park.

Despite its bloody reputation, "There was little death or injury to anyone, friend or foe,: said Matt Davis.

The very ease of it made a statement.  Southerners were now undefended, helpless.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 7: Shock and Awe

According to historian John Marszalek, author of "Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order," said, "Shock and awe.  That's really what Sherman was talking about."

"Cump" Sherman had had a hard childhood.  His father died penniless while he was young and his mother sent him to be raised by another family.  Coming from this rough childhood, Sherman had a lifelong passion for order and stability according to Marszalek.

Central to this was the restoration of the Union and the rule of law.  That meant, the Confederacy had to be destroyed and the sooner the better.

Sherman had wept aloud in 1861 when he read that South Carolina had seceded, which he knew would start a war.  At the time he was superintendent of a military school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which would eventually become Louisiana State University.  He resigned and later accepted a commission in his former U.S. Army, knowing that he would eventually face the cadets he had trained.

Ironically, Sherman always considered himself a friend of the South.

"Cump" a Form of His Middle Name, Tecumseh.  --Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 6: "Make Georgia Howl"

"If we can march a well-appointed army right through his territory, it is a demonstration to the world, foreign and domestic, that we have a power that (Confederate President Jefferson) Davis cannot resist," Sherman wrote to General Grant when he proposed the march.  "I can make this march and make Georgia howl."

Lincoln worried that if Sherman made a misstep, it might destroy his army.  President Davis promised that Sherman's army by itself in the middle of Confederate territory would be crushed.

Of course, it would take another Confederate Army to do that, and there simply wasn't one with General Hood's Army of the Tennessee in the process of being destroyed outside of Nashville.  There simply wasn't much the South could do to stop Sherman's march.

But Grant trusted Sherman whose decisions, even at the cost of many of his men, previously showed he was one to attack.  And now, he wanted to accomplish victory in a different way.

No One Around to Stop Him.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 5: The Singing Soldiers

On November 16, 1864, Sherman watched his army pull out of Atlanta which he had captured two months earlier, a tremendous morale boost for the North that helped ensure Abraham Lincoln's re-election on November 8th, for a second term.

Sherman wrote, "Behind us lay Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins."  Watching his troops with pride, he continued "the gun barrels glistening in the sun, the white-topped wagons stretching away to the south."  The troops sang as a band played.  "Never before or since have I heard the chorus of 'Glory, glory, hallelujah! done with more spirit, or in better harmony of time and place."

With 62,000 veteran troops, Sherman planned to drive to the Atlantic coast at Savannah, conquering territory but also making a point to the enemy, whom he now saw as both the Confederate Army and the unyielding, enabling Southern population.

--Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 4: "The Devil Incarnate"

Amy Wright's grandfather loved to take a Sunday drive and would often stop at the family's old property which brought out the old tales: "The family was unprotected.  ...Truly it was the devil incarnate.  The focus of all their suffering was focused at Sherman.  And the message, "Never forget."  But as she grew older, she couldn't help but notice that the tales became more and more violence in repetition.

Some of the stories were verifiable, but others were exaggerated and many even baseless.

Was Sherman truly a sadistic Satan?  Or, after years of carnage without resolution, was he driven to test a hard and fiery new way to bring about peace?

--Old Secesh


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shorpy Photo of 1913 Gettysburg Reunion

From the November 11, 2014, Shorpy "Civil War Veterans: 1913.

July 1913. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  "Gettysburg reunion: G.A.R. & S.C.V. veterans at the encampment.  Some of the 53,000 Civil War veterans of either group, who reunited at Gettysburg for the 50th anniversary of the battle.

GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and UCV (United Confederate Veterans).  These were veterans groups.

One comment was about a readers' ancestors who lived near Gettysburg who had their home ransacked by Confederates a couple days before the battle.

The photo shows about ten of the veterans standing around with two playing instruments.  I could not tell if this was a mixture of Confederates and Union soldiers.  Perhaps the light and dark hats was an indicator

Of course, 1913 was before the Confederates became demons for fighting to keep slaves.

--Old Secesh

Sherman's March to the Sea-- Part 3: "Dinner With Uncle Billy"

The next big event in Milledgeville's old legislative chamber will be where locals gather there for a commemorative "Dinner With Uncle Billy" with 19th-century fare, finished with buttermilk pie (never heard of that).  I wonder if you want your steak well done, can you get it "Shermanized?"

In addition, there will be an original drama  created from the words of those who were here when Sherman, including rank-and-file soldiers, shopkeepers, slaves and even Sherman himself, noted for his usual unsmiling self.

Amy Wright is director of the capital museum in Milledgeville where this will take place.  She has a doctorate plus five generations of personal history from the area.

She was told while a girl that Sherman's men ransacked houses, stole property and set fires.  It was an unusually cold winter and the bummers took or destroyed harvests "and there was no making up a crop."  People were left to starve.  Animals that couldn't be carried away were simply killed.

Mean Old Yankees  --Old Secesh

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sherman's March to the Sea Still Vivid-- Part 2: Devil or War Criminal?

"Their racous laughter soon gave way to rampaging -- and then to tears and fury among local people, including Wright's forebears, and countless others along the path of destruction Sherman slashed from smoking Atlanta to trembling Savannah and beyond.  For many, even a century and a half later, Sherman's name still evokes epithets -- villain, war criminal, devil -- for te horrors he countenanced, and even commanded.

"Still, if his reputation for mayhem remains firmly intact, the passage of time has allowed for his march and indeed his own complex character to receive a more nuanced assessment.  And, it's not just historians who are looking anew."

Will the Real W.T. Sherman Please Stand Up.  --Old Secesh

Marking the March: Sherman's March to the Sea Still Vivid-- Part 1

From the November 19, 2014, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus, AP.

It was the death throes of the Confederacy 150 years ago as Grant had Lee pinned at Petersburg in Virginia and Union General William T. Sherman was in the midst of his scorching march through Georgia from Atlanta to Savannah.

Sherman's first objective on the march was Georgia's capital at the time, Milledgeville.  Stories of Sherman's "foragers" sweeping through are still told in this part of te country.  They are generally just referred to as "Sherman's men."

Amy Wright gestured to the spot where in 1861, Georgia's leaders had voted to secede from the United States. in the legislative room of the old capitol.    Sherman's me burst into the room when they arrived and drunkenly convened a mock assembly and "repealed " secession.

A Hard Time in the State of Georgia 150 Years Ago.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, December 7, 2014

73 Years Ago This Morning, Surprise Attack

Bob Stroud just mentioned on his Rock and Roll Roots Show on WDRV, "December 7, 1941, A Day That Will Live in Infamy."  Had Harry Chapin still been alive, he would have been having a birthday today and played "Cat's in the Cradle."  He was born the year after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1942.

I don't usually post on Sunday, but this is one of the days that I do if it falls on a Sunday.

PART 1

Today, Gayle Vyskocil will be sharing her late husband James' speech he gave a few years ago at a Pearl Harbor Remembrance in Whidbey, Washington.  On December 7, 1941, he was a signalman third class on a 90-foot tower as he watched the events unfold.

This story will be continued on my Saw the Elephant and Roadlog blogs.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Civil War's "Greybeards"

From the August 10, 2014, Listverse "10 Oldtimers Who Kicked Ass in Wartime."

This is just one of the ten, the one that applied to the Civil War.

The 37th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment was known as the "Greybeards."  They were made up of men who were past the age of military service but fir and healthy enough to serve.

The regiment was the brainchild of George Kincaid, a 50-year-old farmer.  By 1862, the number of Iowa's volunteers was dwindling..  Kincaid's idea was to raise a regiment of men of a certain age to show "a wonderful experience of loyalty and patriotism."  The hopes were that these "Greybeards" would shame the young into volunteering.

Many on the original roster were in the 60-70 age range and one was even 80.

Their primary task was garrison duty and guarding prisoners.  They did have deaths, but that came from disease.

One of them was Anton Busch, a German immigrant who was 52.  (Part of the Anheiser-Busch folk?)

--Old Secesh

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas at Bentonville in 1864-- Part 3

New this year will be Christmas bags made of tissue paper and during the Civil War era would have been filled with sugarplums (Visions of) These will be filled with candy and toys.  (What is a sugar plum anyway?)

It is similar to a pinata and children will try to hit them with a stick to break them open so the goodies will spill out.  It is expected the kids will have a great time doing this (and perhaps a short video on AFV).

Just three months later the next year, the Battle of Bentonville was fought around the Harper House March 19-21, 1865.  It was the last full-scale action in the Civil War where the Confederate Army was able to mount a tactical offensive.  It was the largest battle fought in North Carolina and the only significant attempt to stop the army of William T. Sherman during his March Through the Carolinas.

Union forces occupied the Harper House the first day of the battle and it served as a field hospital for Sherman's XIC Corps.

Wish i Could Be There.  --Old Secesh

Christmas 1864 at Bentonville-- Part 2

Continued from last week.

A small decorated tree will be at the Harper House kitchen and a larger one will be decorated outside.  It will be decorated with strands of popcorn and other natural items that would have been available back in 1864 such as holly, magnolia, fruits and cotton.

Many of the activities have been done in the past, but new ones will be added.

Everything is free and free-flowing.

Normally, there are no weapon demonstrations as it does not fit with the essence of soldiers home on furlough.

A Yule log was burned at the end of last year's program and one will be burned this year.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Long-Lost Civil War Diary Returned to Tennessee-- Part 2

Randal McGavock was a Harvard educated lawyer who served one term as the mayor of Nashville in 1858 when he was 32.  He had earlier taken a 20-month European tour and wrote a book about titled "A Tennesseean Abroad."

He was Lt.-Col. of the 10th Tennessee Infantry regiment and killed in 1863 at the Battle of Raymond in Mississippi.

Ms. Sheam contacted the Tennessee State Library and Archives which had received 8 volumes of his diaries in 1960,.but was missing the one from his early Civil War years.  She and her husband flew to Nashville to donate the diary to the archives and visit historic sites associated with McGavock and his prominent family, including the Two River Mansion in Nashville and Carnton Plantation in Franklin.

--Old Secesh

Long-Lost Civil War Diary Returned in Tennessee-- Part 1

From the August 23, 2014, Tri-Cities.com, AP.

Randal McGavock, one-time mayor of Nashville, wrote a diary during the war and it has been returned now after 152 years.  It was found by a Union captain when they captured Fort Henry in 1862.

It was found in Cincinnati by retired teacher Andrea Sheam while helping her parents move into an assisted living facility.  Her parents told her that her grandmother had placed it in a wooden box in 1963.

The inscription on the diary said that it was captured by Captain Myndert Wemple of the 4th Illinois Volunteer cavalry on February 6, 1862.  Sheam's research show that Wemple was an ancestor and the diary was passed down through the generations for the next hundred years before it was forgotten.

A Piece of History Recovered.  --Old Secesh


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Cotton" Reynolds' Civil War Collection Gone in a Matter of Hours-- Part 2

James Carlos "Cotton" Reynolds was a renowned historian and story teller and was considered a walking encyclopedia of the Civil War who could tell specific stories behind each and every artifact in his collection.

The biggest item was the clothing and equipment that had belonged to Union Naval Captain William Turner which went for$4,700.  It was sold to collector Mayo Cameron, who plans to display it as his museum in North Carolina.

Some items sold for less than $10 while others brought in thousands.  A sword owned by W.J. McEloy, an officer from Georgia, went for $3,250.  (It is stamped CS, W.J. McEloy, Macon, Georgia.)  Another sword
 from the Confederate 1st Cherokee Regiment went for $2,350.

A highlight of the auction was a rare collection of John Primble knives that went for $7,500.

Reynolds' stories about the artifacts were also included in the purchase.

--I Would Have Liked To Have Had the Money to Bid.  --Old Secesh

Cotton Reynolds' Civil War Collection Gone in a Matter of Hours-- Part 1

From the August 21, 2014, Advocate Messenger "Cotton Reynolds' Civil War collection gone in a matter of hours, but his legacy lives on" by Pam Wright.

James Carlos "Cotton" Reynolds of Perryville, Kentucky was a lifetime Civil War collector and had amassed one of the finest ones in the nation.  It was auctioned off on August 21st from 10:30 to 8:30.

There were 537 registered bidders from 47 states and foreign countries.  His children and grandchildren were there to see it go.  Reynolds died in April at age 84.

A plumber by trade, Cotton began collecting the items at an early age in the fields around his Perryville home.  A major battle was fought there..  Often, he would trade plumbing work for artifacts.

--Old Secesh


William Gray Hollowell, Confederate Soldier

From the May 21, 2014, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus.

Picture on the front page of a large photograph of William Gray Hollowell taken at the Confederate Burial Mound at Willowdale Cemetery in Goldsboro.

Caption under the picture reads: "Glenn Fields of the Sons of Confederate Veterans unveils a portrait of Civil War soldier William Gray Hollowell during a Confederate Memorial Day Service at Willowdale Cemetery on Sunday.

"Hollowell was a private in the Goldsboro Rifles who enlisted at the age of 21.  He was wounded at the Battle of Bristoe Station, Va., in the fall of 1863 and had his left leg amputated.

"The nation is observing the 150th anniversary of the war.  A photography exhibit made available by the state Department of Cultural resources is on display at the Wayne County Public Library through June 28."

My family is related to the Hollowells.

--Old Secesh